It was roughly a year ago that I moved to Portland, and it was roughly a year ago that I discovered The We Shared Milk. This is a town packed with talented musicians — every night you can find an affordable show that is not only sure to entertain, but also might turn you on to your new favorite act. With music so ubiquitous and readily available, it’s easy to get jaded and take it all for granted. Luckily, there are bands like TWSM whose sound cuts through even the most jaded attitude (aka mine). The first time I heard them, they had that effect on me — something that few other bands have done (Grandparents and Sama Dams come to mind as the only other examples).
Their latest release is Lame Sunset, an incredibly apt symbol of their general sound and attitude. For the most part, they make laid-back, loose stuff, built around obtuse chords, and progressions way more intricate than your basic I-IV-V’s. It’s all smeared with a fair amount of delay and reverb, and it plays like a warped version of your favorite tape, fresh out of a long stint in a hot car. Their tunes are usually blurry, and even upon first listen, they feel familiar to the point of evoking old memories, which is always a good feeling to get from music.
Unfortunately, TWSM is no more, having played their final show last night at Bunk Bar. You can still buy their music on Bandcamp, though, so go do that. And really, you might want to like them on Facebook just in case, because you never know — I’ve been told it’s their “last show” for like the last two or three shows, and it’s starting to seem like a ploy to get a better draw. I’m onto you, TWSM.
"Weirdo Kid With a Limp" is probably my favorite TWSM tune — it’s a complete tune, with no hang-ups. The progression it opens on (which is also the progression used in the hook) has the coolest groove about it, and drum-wise, the accents on what I’m assuming is the bell of the ride cymbal really do it for me. The contrast between the progressions in the verse and the hook is pretty interesting, as the hook features more of those irregular chord shapes, while the verse seems to be pretty straightforward. The break for the bridge has a Pink Floyd feel to it (I mean that as a compliment), both in tone and melody. Also, I’m a huge fan of the long fade-out at the end, only to jump back up for a half-second and then cut out — seriously considering swiping that trick myself.
You can find “Weirdo Kid With a Limp” as well as the rest of this month’s featured tracks on the free download of the GB! September 2014 Mixtape, the latest in our monthly mixtape series. Come back and get it on September 30!